Throughout her 25 years leading food service operations for the Sedalia 200 school district, Rowena Nickell always has kept students’ needs as her top priority.

Nickell, who was hired as the food service director in 1995, has announced her retirement, effective June 30. Debra Wenig, currently a district food service administrative assistant, has been named Nickell’s successor.

Assistant Superintendent Dr. Nancy Scott praised Nickell for her dedication to children and their nutritional needs. Under Nickell’s guidance, Sedalia 200’s food service has taken a more proactive role in ensuring families eligible for free and reduced-price meals get enrolled in the program. She also has kept the service close to budget while working within U.S. Department of Agriculture nutritional mandates.

When the district contracted with OPAA for meal services in 2013, Nickell retired from the district to run OPAA’s operation here. The district brought food service back under its umbrella in 2017, and Nickell rejoined the district to continue serving its students.

“Rowena has such a big heart for kids and she has always created meals that are good and good for them,” Scott said. “She has been an exemplary leader and we thank her sincerely for her decades of service."

Wenig, who has experience running meal services for church, preschool and day care operations, worked closely with Nickell the past two years.

“We are confident that Debbie will pick up where Rowena is leaving off. Her previous experience and time within our food service will help our program move forward seamlessly,” Scott said.

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